Asthma is a serious illness. In fact, 7.6% of adults and 8.4% of children in the US have asthma, and asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s in all age, gender, and ethnic groups. There are several ways asthma can be treated. Medically, there are short-term and long-term medications which come in different forms. There are also some natural remedies ideas for self-care that you may want to try at home if you suffer from asthma.
Steroids and Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
These are the most important treatments for people with asthma. They work by reducing swelling and mucus production in the airways. This results in the air passages being less sensitive, making them less likely to react to asthma triggers. These are long-term treatments.
These work by relaxing the muscles that tighten up around the airways during an asthma attack, helping to open them up. Bronchodilator inhalers, often referred to as rescue inhalers, relieve the cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and shortness of breath caused by asthma. They may also be used before exercise for people with exercise-induced asthma. However, they are meant for short-term relief and should not be used more than twice a week to control the symptoms of asthma. If you are using your bronchodilator inhaler more often than that, consult your doctor about improving your asthma controller medication.
Inhalers and the most common, and the most effective, way to deliver asthma medications to the lungs. There are several types of inhalers on the market that are utilized in different ways. They can deliver one or sometimes two medications.
Infants, older adults, or anyone who has difficulty using a small inhaler is typically prescribed an asthma nebulizer. This is a machine with a mouthpiece or mask, which delivers medication in the form of a mist that is easily inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are just as effective as inhalers but can take a little bit longer to use.
To speak with an asthma specialist in New York about asthma nebulizers, allow Dr. Shukla to further explain your options.
Prednisone and Asthma Attacks
A short dose of oral corticosteroids called Prednisone may be prescribed if you suffer from a serious asthma attack. The course usually runs for two weeks, and has little to no side effects. If the medication is continued for many months, however, the side effects can become permanent. After your symptoms have been controlled, your doctor will help you minimize the need for Prednisone in the future.
Methods for Self-Care
Using a Peak Flow Meter
This is an inexpensive, hand-held gadget that measures how fast air comes out of your lungs when you exhale hard after taking a full breath. This number is called Peak Expiratory Flow or PEF. If your PEF goes down, that can be a sign of trouble. Your doctor may want you to use a Peak Flow Meter to stay on top of your symptoms.
Keeping an Asthma Diary
Choose a colorful or fanciful diary of your liking and every day, write down:
- Any asthma symptoms you had and how you’re feeling
- Where you were and what you were doing right before a flare
- When you’re using medication and how much
- Your PEF numbers
Sharing this information with your doctor helps her to recognize patterns and warning signs of asthma attacks before they occur. By working together, you can prevent or stop them before you become ill.
As many as 40% of people with allergic diseases will try a natural remedy, in conjunction with traditional treatment. However, do not use a natural remedy in place of your prescribed asthma treatment. Complementary remedies can help you enhance control of your asthma symptoms, but they are not meant as a replacement for conventional treatments.
o Herbs, vitamins, and other supplements
- Echinacea and Licorice Root
- taking tiny amounts of what triggers your asthma to make you less sensitive to it
o Special diets
A better choice is to lower your stress, which can trigger a flare. Worry and panic can make an attack harder to get through, too. Relaxation techniques can ease breathing problems:
o Deep belly breathing
o Progressive muscle relaxation
o Guided imagery
Take Care of Your Health
As always, getting enough sleep, managing your weight by maintaining a healthy diet, and doing aerobic exercise on a regular basis will keep your body strong and resilient. Make sure to use a pre-exercise inhaler if you need to.
Asthma Specialist in New York
Asthma is a serious condition, and it affects almost one out of every ten New York residents. However, the proper management of your asthma symptoms can make a dramatic difference in your long-term health. Dr. Shukla is an asthma specialist in New York that focuses on the treatment of asthma and can come up with a plan tailored to your specific needs. To schedule a consultation with him, call (917)-924-6383 today.